Simulating Mechanical Pressure Applied to a Steel Plate

In this tutorial we will learn how to simulate the effects of a pressure load on a plate of stainless steel. The outputs analysed will be the displacement and stress in the plate. We will apply a pressure load at 9.81 kPa which is approximately the pressure at 100m sea depth.

A common application in Finite Element Analysis is a simulation of displacement of a load being applied to a steel plate. This example demonstrates how to set up and run this kind of an application.

This sort of structural analysis may be applied to the design of submarine hulls which are made from steel so this example can be used to show how the pressure at sea depth can affect the hull. This is why we have chosen a pressure load of 9.81 kPa as this is the pressure exhibited at 100m of sea depth.


New Project

Open up OnScale in Designer Mode. The first step is to create a new project.

  1. In the Home tab of the ribbon, click New Project. The New Project window shows.
  2. Type a name for the project.
  3. If desired, change the save location and/or project file name by clicking  beside Project File.
  4. For Analysis, select Mechanical Static.
  5. Select the Advanced checkbox.
  6. For Distance, select mm.
  7. Click OK.


The second step is to add the material steel to the project materials to be used for the project.

  1. Click Project Materials icon to open the Material Database
  2. Expand the 'Metal' materials dropdown 
  3. Double click stst 
  4. It will have been added to the Project Materials
  5. Click Done 


  1. Click Cuboid to add the primitive 
  2. Change Material to stst
  3. Set X (mm) = 500
  4. Set Y (mm) = 500 
  5. Set Z (mm) = 4

Right click the workspace and select Reset View after making changes to the properties

Static Function

The next step is to add a static function.

  1. Expand Forcing Functions in the Model Tree
  2. Click '+' to open the Static Function dialogue


  1. Expand Model
  2. Change Definitions to Defined 
  3. Set Element Size (mm) to 4 

Create a New Load

  1. Expand Boundary Conditions and, beside Loads, click +.
  2. For Creation Mode, select Geometry Interface.
  3. For Geometry, select primitive_1 (stst) or click it in the model.
  4. For Interfacing Item, select side 6 (zmax).
  5. For Load Type, select Pressure.
  6. Click Create Load.

Boundary Conditions

We need to set the boundary conditions so that the sides of the plate are fixed.

  1. Click Domain Boundaries 
  2. Change to Fixed
  3. Change to Fixed
  4. Change to Fixed
  5. Change to Fixed
  6. Change to Free
  7. Change to Free


  1. Click Analysis 
  2. Set Max Iterations to 7000


We will now define 3 outputs, a time history of the displacement on the plate, the Z displacement of the plate and the stress on the plate.

Output 1

  1. Click + 
  2. Change to Time History
  3. Change Array Type to Displacement 
  4. Change Array Component to Z
  5. Set X (mm) = 250, Y (mm) = 250, Z (mm) = 4

Output 2

  1. Click + 
  2. Change to Data Snapshot
  3. Change Array Type to Displacement 
  4. Change Array Component to Z

Output 3

  1. Click + 
  2. Change to Data Snapshot
  3. Change Array Type to Stress
  4. Change Array Component to XZ

Run Model on Cloud

At this point the model is completely set up and it can now be run on the cloud.

  1. Click Run on Cloud 
  2. Optional - Change Job Name
  3. Select Estimate 
  4. Change to 32 CPUs
  5. Select Run

Downloading Simulation Results

Once the simulation has finished, the results are available in your storage to download.

  1. Click the Storage icon to open the cloud storage
  2. Select your job from the dropdown menu
  3. Click Downlod
  4. Select Download All

Choose an appropriate save location and close the cloud storage.

Switch to the Post Processor

  1. Click this icon to access the Post Processor to analyse simulation results

Open Results

  1. Click File Explorer
  2. Expand the Job Simulation Folder
  3. Double click the files to open them
  4. Click Results Manager in preparation for the next step

Plot Time History

  1. Double click 'zdsp' to plot displacement time history

Clear Viewports

  1.  Click Rest Viewport
  2. Select Reset Current Viewport

Plot Data Snapshots

  1. Click Configure Viewport
  2. Select 2_2
  3. Plot sgxz
  4. Click the unoccupied viewport
  5. Plot Z Displacement